April 20, 2011

Wordpress - our blog platform of choice

A blog is simply a way of publishing pages and articles on your own website. It comes from “web log”, which was the name for an online diary of cool sites that you had visited that day.

For some people, the word ‘blog’ still carries connotations of eccentric nerds who are always getting in trouble for posting defamatory content and breaking court-imposed name suppression orders.

But the reality is that blogs have been around for about ten years and have become an important part of most organisations’ digital marketing strategies.

  • Your blog software automatically archives your articles – you can arrange them by categories and use tags to organise them and make them easy for your readers to find.
  • You can ask readers to comment on your articles (only if you want to – read about the best way to moderate comments here).
  • The magic of RSS allows you to broadcast your blog articles to your readers across different channels, including email, Twitter, and Facebook.

The benefits of a blog are huge:

  • Google loves blog articles and tends to promote them ahead of normal website pages in the search rankings, so you’ll attract much more traffic to your website.
  • a steady stream of new content makes your website look up-to-date.
  • you come across as an expert in your field.
  • it gives your website a human voice – a valuable differentiator in a sea of bland copy and stock photography.
  • you get to make connections with people. If you have a good blog, a community can develop around it.
  • you increase your own knowledge when people submit comments. Quite often, a comment might be “I loved your article. But have you thought of this? Or visited this site…?”
  • it can be a good way to keep your stakeholders and employees informed of what’s happening within your organisation, without the need to send group emails. Discussion can then occur on the blog itself.

That’s great, but what would I write about?
– the best blog articles are usually answers to specific questions, e.g. “How do I compress a PNG?”, or “What happened on the world gold market today?”, or “Who was the best-dressed person at the Oscars?”, or “What houses sold in my suburb in the last week and what were the prices paid for them?”. If you can answer questions like these, you will attract people.

I could just do all this on Facebook, couldn’t I?
Facebook is a great way to keep your current Facebook friends and fans up-to-date with what you’re doing, but compared to a blog, it’s not very good for attracting new business.
Here’s why…

  • Search engines like Google and Facebook are not the best of friends. – Facebook status updates tend not to be indexed in Google, so no-one will find your updates by searching in Google.
  • You control your own blog. You are not in control of Facebook. Facebook changes the rules with alarming regularity.


What are some good blogs to follow?

One of the best ways to find a good blog is to simply think of a question that you really need to know the answer to and type it into Google. Chances are, there will be a blog article that answers your question. If it’s a good article and it’s on the front page of Google, then it’s probably a good blog. e.g. if i want to know the anwser to this question “How do I compress a PNG?”, I type it into Google, and I find this article “Clever PNG Optimization Techniques” and i see that it’s had 149 comments. So it must be awesome. Right, I better subscribe to that blog, and great, I see that they have 4 ways to subscribe: Facebook, Twitter, email, and RSS. Brilliant.

Now, isn’t it time you started blogging?